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Animal Pathogen Imports

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As of April 1, 2013, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is now the single window for stakeholders who require an import permit for both human and terrestrial animal pathogens. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) continues to issue permits for animal pathogens that are not indigenous to Canada (pathogens causing foreign animal and emerging animal diseases), aquatic and plant pathogens as well as for animals, animal products and by-products, tissue, sera and blood that are infected with animal pathogens.

The Canadian Biosafety Standards and Guidelines replaces the Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines, the Containment Standards for Veterinary Facilities and Containment Standards for Laboratories, Animal Facilities and Post Mortem Rooms Handling Prion Disease Agents.

Import Permits for Animal Pathogens

The Health of Animals Act and its regulations give the CFIA the legislative authority to control the use of imported animal pathogens and pathogens associated with reportable animal diseases. Permits are required for the importation of all animal pathogens into Canada. For an agent brought into Canada under an import permit which restricts its distribution, further approval must be obtained before transferring the agent to another location.

The Office of Biohazard Containment & Safety (OBCS) also establishes the conditions under which animal pathogens will be maintained and work will be carried out. The containment level required for working with specific pathogens is kept in a listing maintained by the office.

An application to import animal pathogens into Canada must be made to the CFIA. After evaluation and approval by the OBCS, an import permit will be issued which must accompany the pathogen into Canada. A single or multiple-entry permit will be issued according to the particular situation. The import permit will specify the conditions under which the pathogen is to be maintained and work is to be carried out.

Applicants are also required to submit the application form "Facility Certification for the Importation of Animal Pathogens"

This permit to import can be requested through the Agency's online service portal, My CFIA. By signing up for a My CFIA account, you can submit a new service request, track the status of your application and pay for the service online.

If you do not have access to My CFIA, the completed application can also be faxed or mailed to CFIA, Centre of Administration (CoA).

Note: CFIA policy does not allow for the issuance of a permit for material that has already arrived in Canada. If the product is in Canada without a valid import permit it must be returned to the exporter or destroyed.

Permit Fees

CFIA fees are subject to an annual adjustment based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Please refer to CFIA's Fees Notice for updated fee amounts.

Important Notice: Declaring Imports to the CBSA

Those who declare imports electronically to the CBSA should have completed testing and became certified to transmit their import declarations through the Integrated Import Declaration (IID) by January 1, 2019. If you have not already, learn how to become certified today.

Facility Certification for the Importation of Animal Pathogens

Applicants importing pathogens at AP containment level 3 or 4 will have their facilities inspected and approved prior to issuance of the import permit.

All non-conformities identified during an on-site inspection will be immediately communicated to the applicant together with a corrective action request. The inspector's report will be submitted to the Office of Biohazard Containment & Safety. Follow-up inspections will be periodically performed to ensure permit conditions are being complied with.

Importing Zoonotic Pathogens

The importation of agents of zoonotic or communicable diseases common to humans and animals also requires application to the Public Health Agency of Canada under the Human Pathogens Importation Regulations.

Other Activities

For importation of animal products and tissues that are free of animal pathogens, contact your CFIA Area Office.

The Canadian Food inspection Agency does not regulate export of pathogens and toxins from Canada. The Export and Import Control Bureau of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) is responsible for administering the Export and Import Permits Act. DFAIT produces an Export Control List with Group 7 Chemical and Biological Weapons, Non-Proliferation List containing the list of human, animal and plant pathogens and toxins that require an export permit.

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